Japan, Colombia to cooperate on natural resource development

Kyodo

Japanese and Colombian leaders are expected to agree Tuesday that the countries will cooperate in promoting Japanese investment in developing the Latin American country’s natural resources, a Japanese delegation source said Sunday.

In a joint statement to be released after talks in Bogota between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, the leaders will also express a desire to accelerate negotiations to conclude a bilateral free-trade agreement as soon as possible, the source said.

Abe, currently on a five-nation trip to Latin America, will become the first incumbent Japanese prime minister to visit Colombia, whose economy is experiencing faster growth.

With the agreement on developing Colombia’s abundant natural resources such as oil and coal, that nation could become the second-largest base for Japanese companies in South America after Brazil, a senior Japanese Foreign Ministry official said.

A draft joint statement also states that Japan will support its businesses in laying an optical fiber network in Colombia and the leaders welcome deeper bilateral cooperation regarding intellectual property, including acceleration of the patent examination process.

Abe and Santos are also expected to agree on the need to reform the United Nations Security Council as well as the importance of respecting the rule of law, with an eye toward China’s growing assertiveness in the East China Sea where Beijing claims the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, known as Diaoyu in China.